“Rockets have always been expendable. Not anymore. Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts, a used rocket.”– Jeff Bezos.
Bezos is best known for being the founder of Amazon.com and changing the way I buy things forever. But, he also has a space company – Blue Origin. And yesterday, his space company successfully landed the first stage of its New Shepard rocket.
Reusable rockets are seen as an important and vital step in commercial spaceflight. Being able to use a rocket again would drastically cut down on costs.
Most of us who follow spaceflight know SpaceX has tried multiple times to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket. It’s come close, but has missed the mark.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk congratulated Bezos and the Blue Origin team for yesterday’s flight.
Congrats to Jeff Bezos and the BO team for achieving VTOL on their booster
Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle shot up to 329,839 feet or about 62 miles. “Low Earth Orbit” starts at 100 miles up and goes to 1,240 miles. Everything from GPS satellites to the International Space Station calls this region of space home. That’s where SpaceX’s SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is sending equipment to. Still, it’s an amazing accomplishment for the Blue Origin’s team.
You can see Blue Origin’s plans in the video. They want to take us to space one day. Having reusable rockets to make it happen helps make it a more viable business model.
A timeline of Blue Origin’s historic rocket landing
Launch (11:21 a.m. on November 23) – New Shepard launches from the company’s West Texas launch site. An American-made BE-3 liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine pumps out 110,000 pounds of thrust.
Apogee – Or the highest point. The crew capsule reaches a height of 329,839.
Speed – Mach 3.72
The landing – Rocket booster is reignited at 4,896 feet above ground level. A controlled vertical landing of the first stage of the rocket at 4.4 miles per hour.
The capsule – The crew capsule successfully deploys drogue parachutes at 20,045 feet. And it lands 11 minutes after the rocket launches.
Blue Origin’s future
Bezos added, “Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard space vehicle flew a flawless mission—soaring to 329,839 feet and then returning through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just four and a half feet from the center of the pad. Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again.”
New Shepard isn’t their only project. In September, the company completed more than 100 staged-combustion tests for the development of the BE-4 engine. This engine delivers 550,000 pounds of thrust at sea level. It’s being developed for Blue Origin’s orbital launch vehicle and United Launch Alliance’s next-generation Vulcan launch system.